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10 year with major tantrums, hitting, screaming, lying to me.. help!

(11 Posts)
Dahlia Mon 20-May-13 17:35:08

Hello everyone, I haven't been on here for years but always got a helping hand when I used to be a regular... I hope somebody can offer some advice because I am at the end of my tether...
I have a 10 year old daughter, and am divorced. My daughter is an angel at school, and generally very well behaved when at her father's. Most of the time here she is fine, loving, funny, well behaved etc. But she has these "meltdowns" and they are getting more regular.. at the moment its about 3 times a week. They are triggered by the tiniest thing - or sometimes by nothing at all. She will scream at full volume for minutes on end, lie down and pummel the floor, and her legs and head, she will bang her head against the wall, she will punch me, threaten to smash my phone, pick up heavy objects and threaten to throw them at me, slam doors so hard paint comes off, she is completely irrational throughout. She speaks to me like dirt, she tells me all her friends hate me, I am a rubbish mother, she hates me, I am a liar, etc etc. I have tried EVERYTHING and am now waiting for the school nurse to see her for a chat, having spoken to MARAT - that was their initial suggestion. My GP thinks she has a definite problem, but CAMHS said she wasnt bad enough for a referral. She tells lies, she plays me off against her dad, she says things like "you don't know anything, Dad knows everything and he thinks I am perfect". She punched me really hard in the shoulder recently, and still hasnt apologised. Her response was "it wasn't THAT hard. If I really wanted to, I could hurt you really badly". She says if I try and take her to see anyone she will hit them and then leave. I have tried and tried to get my ex on board, but he refuses to accept there is a problem and has basically told me its all my fault and its down to my relationship with her. He has basically told me I am lying about her hitting me. I feel like I am going mad, and that I have nobody to turn to sad I love her but at the moment I feel like every day I am walking on eggshells sad has anybody else been through this? ps. I have a 17 year old daughter who has never behaved like this, but she is fed up with the situation as her father goes on to her about it all the time and she isnt interested and doesnt want to get involved.

5318008 Mon 20-May-13 18:48:15

Video her when she's going off on one.

She might be shocked into reflecting on her behaviour.

If not, well then you have evidence to show the GP to get a re-referral to cahms, or to show School Nurse

Kleinzeit Mon 20-May-13 20:22:19

I am so sorry! It’s awful. My DS was violent towards me when he was younger (aged five or six, special needs issues) and it was just horrible sad

You know…. Maybe this doesn’t have anything to do with you as a mother, not with anything you’ve done or haven’t done. Sometimes when children feel upset or angry or unhappy or scared about something, or when they just feel bad about themselves, they don’t know why they feel that way, they can’t put their real feelings into words so they turn them into insults and aggression instead. And guess what – they turn those insults and aggression against the person they most love and trust, the person who they feel should be able to make everything OK for them. They know we love them and they know that when they were little we could fix everything for them, only now we can’t magically make it all right so they blame us. Lucky for us Mums, eh?

Good idea to talk to the school; you could go back to the GP/CAMHS too about the physical aggression, because that sounds as if things are getting worse rather than better. Even if CAMHS still wont see her, the GP might point to some support for you as a parent having to deal with it? And do you have a nice health visitor – mine was very supportive, she spent time talking to me and that was helpful.

And don’t forget to take care of yourself! These things are so draining and exhausting. Wishing you wine or brew

Dahlia Wed 22-May-13 16:34:15

Thanks so much Kleinzeit. She was dreadful again yesterday and punched me again, before grabbing my drink and pouring it down the sink sad but today she has been much better and I have at least been able to talk to her. Would be hard to film her, but I have her on audio, and will definitely play that to whoever I can get to listen.. Yes it is totally draining, but I won't give up. I think she is testing me, to see how far she can go before I crack, and I think what you say may be right about hurting the ones we love the most. Have made another docs appt today and will insist on a re-referral, thank you both of you for advice. Wish me luck xx

Kleinzeit Wed 22-May-13 17:28:21

Good luck Dahlia!

And a couple of other thoughts….

Since getting your ex on board isn’t working, I would just stop trying. To be honest I probably couldn’t co-parent with someone who calls me a liar, that is so disrespectful, and that's not your fault. And I agree with trying not to involve your older DD.

And one thing I learnt from my DS is that anxiety is a huge trigger for aggression. The way your DD says that her father thinks she is perfect, maybe she is secretly very afraid of what he might say or do if he stops believing in her perfection. When your DD says that he thinks she is perfect, you could try telling her things like “well we love you whether you are perfect or not. We all have a good side and a bad side, and I always know you have a wonderful good side even when you’re hiding it from me”. And when your DD has calmed down maybe it would reassure her (and make a her bit more co-operative later on!) to hear that you think she really is a good girl (no matter what bad things she says and does)?

Anyway, you sound like a lovely Mum who is doing your darndest to help your DD. Good luck with CAMHS flowers

screamadelica Sat 25-May-13 13:39:00

Hi Dahlia,

You are not alone! I have no advice for you but reading your post and the answers has made me feel a bit better.
My 10 year old DD is the same. I am in the process of getting a divorce. She is well behaved at school and with her Dad. She recently met his new partner and although she didn't speak at all!!.....she did't kick off either. Her Dad is an emotional bully who emotionally abused me for years before I got the guts to get rid. I think it is learnt behaviour as she reminds me of him when she behaves this way.
Whenever I have a friend over she really kicks off...throwing a huge tantrum. Its just so upsetting. I do try to talk to her but she can't admit she has a problem. Her Dad isn't supportive as it doesn't affect him and when I have rung him in the past he gives me some lame excuse like he's busy at work. She is worse when he drops her off declairing she's so bored and expecting me to drop everything and give her my full attention. All in all i think she behaves that way to get my attention.

She definatly needs help....she has always been a sensitive child. She is still very loving towards me but as the day she sees her Dad approaches i can feel her stress level building.

I have 2 Ds both older, one 13 doesn't see his Dad much and the other 11 sees him occasionaly when he wants. We have no set access arrangements. I have had issues with her eldest brother and his anger management. But he seems to have settled down an awful lot since his bully of a Dad left. He attended a counsellor which was arranged through school for 14 weeks and it really helped him.

After reading your story im going to take her to our Dr and see if they can offer some help.
I feel so sorry for her as she is obviously suffering.

Hope your stiuation improves soon.

WinkyWinkola Sat 25-May-13 13:46:46

Oh gosh. It sounds horrendous. Living with an unpleasant person is such hard work and really draining.

What do you do when she behaves badly? Do you have punishments? Are you consistent in your responses?

It sounds like she needs some really firm boundaries as to what is acceptable in your home. I would keep stressing that what her father does isn't your concern bit that in YOUR house, this is what you expect.

It's a great pity you can't get her dad on board. It's really easy to play the bountiful parent.

I know how depressed and low this kind of thing can make you. Will it ever end? Is your relationship never going to be okay? Is the child messed up? Will I ever enjoy their company? All these kinds of things go round on your head.

But she must learn that she cannot behave like this. She is assaulting you and that is awful for you.

You've got to stop her either by grabbing her arms and speaking firmly, telling her what will happen (punishment) if she continues. And them always follow through with the punishment.

I hope you don't sustain too many bruises. sad

madbengal Mon 27-May-13 10:05:54

Your not alone I had my daughter (11) for 5 hours plus screaming at me and her dad that we hate her she's only here as no-one else wants her and she went for me and kicked her dad

All over me telling her to change into old trainers as we were going to do gardening as she was wearing new shoes

Does your daughter then act like she hasnt done anything wrong and refuse to apologise? or is that just mine

Walking on eggshells here too

cory Mon 27-May-13 10:40:59

I would get help. Now. Ask the school to support another CAHMS referral, make it clear that dd is a definite physical danger to herself and others.

It is very bad for for her for this to be allowed to continue unchecked and sooner or later she will get too strong for you to restrain. She needs help before that happens.

Dd was never an unpleasant person, but she did go through several years of violent tantrums which sound very similar to the ones you describe. In her case, it was to do with past trauma and ongoing physical and emotional pain. We have spoken of it later and she has confirmed that she would go into a state where she would quite simply not recognise me as her mother any more; all she saw was a dangerous monster that she had to fight off.

One thing I did do that I think was helpful was to make sure she was never unchecked when trying to hurt other people. It is very, very frightening for a child to feel that there is nobody there to protect them from the rage that is inside them.

After the first lashing out, I would get behind her and restrain both her arms using the leverage to pull her teeth away from my hands. I would back to a chair and sit down, putting one leg around her legs to keep her from kicking and keeping the other one on the ground. All the time I would repeat as calmly as possible "no, I won't let you hurt anyone, no I can't let you hurt anyone".

I sometimes wondered what I would do if the tantrums didn't stop. And I was quite clear in my mind that if that happened I would have no alternative but to ring the police. The one thing I couldn't let happen was to let dd continue unchecked until the day she killed me or put me in hospital: that would ruin her life as well as mine.

But long before that happened, dd was under the care of CAHMS and the tantrums had stopped.

My db went through a very similar pattern, though there adoption trauma was probably the initial trigger. He is the least violent adult you could imagine.

As to discipline, I and my parents took a very similar approach: we kind of accepted that on a bad day meltdowns would happen whatever we did, and kept on enforcing discipline the rest of the time.

As another poster said, this behaviour is often anxiety related. Your dd needs to see that she can get help to get her anxiety under control. But also that she cannot manipulate you, that you care enough about her to make sure she gets help whatever threats she makes against you. You need to pretend to be totally unphased by any threats to hurt you again, to run away, to lie to others about you. You need to tell her that she is seeing the doctor and that is that.

But also make it clear to her that they will be there to help her to take charge of her own life, so that she gets more fun out of it and has more control.

brainexplosion Mon 27-May-13 11:28:03

8yr old dd here.
We are in the process of a PCHMS referral.

Very violent outbursts. Bedroom door has lots of holes in it where she's tried to smash it down. Innocent triggers spark her off ie "would you like a sandwich for tea?" (turned out she wanted spaghetti). Very egg-shell like in this house.

My advice is to keep hold of the belief that you ARE a good mum, and stay calm as much as you can. Like others have said, the fact that you get the brunt of this shows that you are the one she trusts and feels safe with.

I often get frustrated and fed up with people not believing how violent she is at home as she too is a sweet little angel at school and with other people. If I hear the phrase "have you tried a sticker chart?" one more time I'll scream!!!!

Please keep hold of your inner strength. Believe in yourself and hold your head up high. Other people (except us on here) just don't understand what it is like.

Good luck, and don't forget to enjoy the nice times with her.

WinkyWinkola Mon 27-May-13 21:51:51

Yes, sticker chart suggestions drove me mad too. My ds1 used to totally kick off for hours if I looked at him the wrong way or took a turning in the car that he didn't want me to take.

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